To paraphrase Spike Milligan’s “I told you I was ill”…

I told you there was a bloody great peacock in my backyard.

It’s gone now. But it was here yesterday evening, roosting in a tree (peacocks roost? who knew?) and this morning it was back.

I e-mail my friend Letitia, who has helped me rescue more than one animal. You’re over-reacting, she says. “Peacock,” I reitterate. “P-E-A-C-O-C-K. Not squirrel. Not chipmunk. Not bloody nuthatch. Peacock.

My wife (who first spotted the creature) tells me to call the Department of Natural Resources, and then she leaves for work as casually — say — as if there was no peacock in our back yard.

I call the DNR.

The DNR says peacocks are not native to Wisconsin. Try the Henry Vilas Zoo.

The Henry Vilas Zoo says it has not lost a peacock. Try Animal Control.

Animal Control says peacocks are hard to catch (they conferred on this). Try the Humane Society.

The Humane Society says try the Police Dispatcher.

The Police Dispatcher says try Animal Control (again).

Animal Control says try a farm.

A farm? I ask. As in Moo Cows?

We’ll look it up, they say.

They give me the phone number of a fruit and berry farm that might also be in the peacock biz.

I call this fruit and berry farm that might also be in the peacock biz.

Do you deal in peacocks? I ask the woman who answers the phone.

Peacocks? she asks, as if I had said “A herd of purple antelope.”

Peacocks, I confirm. There is a peacock in our back yard.

Let me ask Harry (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) and call you back, she says.

I wait.

The phone rings.

Yes, Harry thinks it might be one of ours, she says, when she calls back (Harry apparently has a better handle on their peacock situation than she does). Harry says they go roaming for mates this time of year, she says, adding that Harry’s at the Farmers’ Market now. He’ll call you back.

And so I sit, awaiting word from the mysterious Harry, lord of all peacock lore.

Meanwhile, there was a bloody great peacock in our back yard…

Did I mention that?

John

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